[Warning: The following contains MAJOR spoilers for The Umbrella Academy Season 3 Episodes 4-7, “Kugelblitz,” “Kindest Cut,” “Marigold,” and “Auf Wedersehen.”]
Yep, Harlan’s really back (Callum Keith Rennie).
Viktor’s (Elliot Page) shocked to learn that the kid he saved in the previous timeline is all grown up now — and, thanks to that save, he now also has a version of Viktor’s powers. The thing is, Harlan can’t quite control them… and that makes for a major plot twist in the middle of The Umbrella Academy Season 3. How does it happen? Read on to find out.
With two Sparrows dead, the terms of the deal have changed. The Sparrows now demand that the Umbrella Academy turn over Harlan, as they think they’re working with him (they’re not, but Viktor might as well be). Predictably, this causes a good deal of infighting among the Umbrellas, as Viktor won’t allow them to hand over Harlan. “You wanted to be part of the team,” Five (Aidan Gallagher) tells his sibling. “This is what it is.”
Aside from the Harlan conflict, a shocking moment arrives in Episode 4, when Klaus (Robert Sheehan) dies. Yep, you read that right. Klaus dies. (Don’t worry about it. It won’t last.) Diego’s (David Castenada) son is playing around with a harpoon gun in the “White Buffalo Suite” — a room they manage to break into together, since Klaus is totally the “fun uncle” — and while the kid’s playing with the weapon, it goes off and spears Klaus through the chest. This results in another afterlife sequence like the one from Season 1, in which Klaus is able to see all the times he’s actually died; he’d been thinking of them as “near-death experiences.” Then, after a quick, emotional reunion with his mother, it’s back to reality for him… much to Diego’s relief.
This sets up a fun side jaunt for him when he goes to Reginald (Colm Feore) for help understanding his powers. Reginald’s not happy in this reality, either; his kids keep him drugged and locked in his study, a tradition that Pogo started to keep him from being so hard on his children. At any rate, he’s thrilled to have a friend in Klaus. They go out to a road in the middle of nowhere where Klaus gets hit by a car a whoooooole bunch of times, and after each “death,” Reginald times Klaus to see how long it takes him to come back. Eventually, he returns in a matter of moments. Later, through a trip to the graveyard, they also discover he can banish the restless souls of the dead. Cool, Klaus! That’ll probably be helpful later, Klaus!
Allison’s (Emmy Raver-Lampman) story goes from bad to worse throughout the middle of the season, unfortunately. She tortures Sloane (Genesis Rodriguez) in the aftermath of the attack, raising even Diego’s eyebrows, but later she does something much, much worse. Using her “rumor” powers, she convinces an unwilling Luther (Tom Hopper) that he “wants her,” kisses him, and then panics and tells him to stop as he tries to have his way with her. Nothing else happens, but it’s a totally icky moment to give Allison. Luther didn’t consent. Oh, and she also kills Harlan! More to come on that.
Of Harlan’s story: Viktor’s sneaky solution to his family’s decision to turn over Harlan is to take him far away and work with him to re-absorb his powers. Because Allison sees Viktor trying to leave with Harlan, she gets roped into it, too. They go to a parking lot in the middle of nowhere, where Harlan tells Viktor to “listen to the sounds beneath the sounds” in order to better control his power. Allison watches, thinking Viktor is in pain, and her opinion of Harlan is set. Even when it eventually works and Viktor takes Harlan’s powers, Allison doesn’t like him. She likes him even less when he accidentally admits he was responsible for the whole “the Umbrella Academy’s mothers are dead” thing. Yep, that was Harlan: in a fit of rage and heartbreak at his own mother’s death, he accidentally killed the mothers of every Umbrella Academy member. Viktor knew and accepted it was an accident, but Allison? Not so much.
What’s Five been up to this whole time? He and Lila (Ritu Arya) use their powers to return to the Commission, which has been destroyed. In a bunker, Five finds a dying, older version of himself. This older Five tells him not to save the world and mumbles about “oblivion” before he dies. He also has a strange tattoo on his chest, which becomes important when Five realizes it’s a symbol for a biker gang. He goes to the gang’s headquarters and discovers Pogo — yes, the talking monkey that raised them — is a tattoo artist there. Pogo tells him about the meaning of the tattoo. Reginald had it done as a symbol of “Project Oblivion.”
What does that mean? Diego and Lila get a piece of the puzzle. After she returns from the Commission, they make up and wake up together in the White Buffalo Suite. When they do, their kid is gone! They discover a door in the wall and go through it, thinking he’s on the other side. What’s really on the other side is an apparent alternate reality called the Hotel Oblivion. They can’t find Stan, but they do find a knight-looking monster that chops off two of Diego’s fingers before they’re able to escape. Stan was on the other side the whole time, but unfortunately, the Kugelblitz gets him. Lila also eventually breaks the news that Stan isn’t their kid. He’s her friend’s kid from some time she spent in a punk group in 1989, and she convinced him to play a trick on Diego.
Through Luther and Sloane’s bargaining throughout the past few episodes (Luther winds up joining the Sparrow Academy), as well as Allison killing Harlan and delivering his body to the remaining Sparrows, peace might be possible. While Viktor’s angry with Allison for what she did and the Sparrows are still leery of the Umbrellas, a deal forms. They all agree to put their issues aside to help stop the end of the world. Viktor, Lila, and Sloane work to contain the Kugelblitz while Christopher (the alien Sparrow cube) traps it inside himself. That appears to work, and celebration ensues. Luther asks Sloane to marry him (they’ve known each other less than a week), Lila tells Diego the whole experiment she did with Stan is because she’s actually pregnant (sigh, of course), and Five tries to convince Viktor that Allison did the right thing by killing Harlan. That conversation ends with a nice little threat: “Lie to us again, Viktor, and I’ll kill you myself.”
Of course, ending the Kugelblitz couldn’t be that simple. Christopher eventually explodes, taking the only other Sparrow that wasn’t Ben (Justin H. Min) or Sloane with him and unleashing the Kugelblitz again. The world collapses further along with the entirety of the Sparrows’ home, and the whole group is forced to flee.
One thing I will say: Some storylines in this season aren’t landing for me, but the music selections remain on point. In this stretch of episodes, we get “Crystalized” by The XX (Klaus dies and goes to the afterlife), “My Silver Lining” by First Aid Kit (the end of Episode 5), a hilarious incorporation of “Cat’s in the Cradle” by Harry Chapin (Klaus gets run over, like, a billion times while learning to master his powers), and “What Makes You a Man” by The Ninth Wave (the Sparrow Academy crumbles at the end of Episode 6). For a show whose source material was created by Gerard Way, perhaps that’s to be expected.
The Umbrella Academy Season 3, Streaming Now, Netflix